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Government's response to HK Bar Association's statement

     In response to media enquiries concerning the statement issued by the Hong Kong Bar Association, a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau today (June 25) gave the following response:

     "As regards the legal issues involved in the replacement mechanism proposal, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the Hong Kong Bar Association have come to different views, and the same have already been respectively stated. The HKSAR Government does not consider it necessary to repeat its stance again. However, in relation to the example given by the Hong Kong Bar Association, we have the following response.

     The replacement mechanism proposed by the HKSAR Government is based on the proportional representation system applied in Geographical Constituency and the new District Council Functional Constituency elections. Throughout the territory, there are 3.43 million registered voters. Each of the five Geographical Constituencies has hundreds of thousands of registered voters. According to the results of the 2008 Legislative Council election, directly elected Members each obtained about 30,000 to 50,000 votes. At that time, the candidates who obtained the largest remaining votes in the five Geographical Constituencies each secured the support of over 10,000 or 20,000 votes. Accordingly, the relatively extreme example in the Hong Kong Bar Association's statement in which there are 150 voters, and a candidate with the largest remainder of only one vote, does not reflect the actual situation.

     According to the proposal in the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2011, in the September 2012 Legislative Council general election, the candidate list which secures the support of more voters will stand a higher chance of its candidates becoming Members. At the same time, the candidates who secure a higher number of remaining votes will stand a higher chance of becoming Members through the replacement mechanism. Therefore, voters will direct the manner in which the replacement mechanism works through their votes.

     The HKSAR Government's proposal is based on the proportional representation voting system. In future, this replacement mechanism will be used to fill vacancies arising in different situations, because it will reflect the overall will of voters. Accordingly, in order to maintain consistency of the replacement mechanism, we propose that this mechanism should be applicable in cases of resignation, death, and other circumstances where vacancies arise."

Ends/Saturday, June 25, 2011